I signed up for Vonage Voice over IP (VoIP) service last week and the package arrived this weekend. I set it up and got us up and going within about an hour. The only sort of technical part was setting up port forwarding on my DSL router. Most people wouldn’t have to do that as the VoIP box is supposed to go between the DSL/Cable modem and any consumer router you have so it can do Quality of Service (QoS) on your network traffic to make sure there’s always enough bandwidth for phone calls. In my case, the DSL box is also a router/firewall so I had to forward a number of ports to the VoIP box (which I gave a static internal IP). Right now it’s not set up in a way that lets it do the QoS but we haven’t had a problem so far… we don’t really do a lot of large downloads most of the time and it works fine along with normal web browsing and email. Anyway, I have to re-arrange the home network a little but I probably won’t bother until our old home phone number is switched over in about a month. I picked Vonage because they had our home area code available as an option so we could keep our existing phone number. So far it’s working well! For the average DSL/cable user (it requires something better than dial-up) the set up is pretty easy. Best of all the VoIP service comes with all the goodies (voice mail, caller id, call waiting, 3-way, etc) for free and we’re getting 500 ‘anywhere’ minutes (local or long distance) for 15 bucks a month. My favorite feature: As a $5/month add-on service you can get a ‘virtual’ phone number in any US area code. Any calls to the virtual number count as local calls from that area code so you can help other people avoid long distance charges, too. It’s a nice gift for the folks … “Call us for free!”